U.S. Fed to end current rate hike cycle later this year: survey

2019-03-18 07:27

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WASHINGTON, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to end the current cycle of interest-rate increases after one more hike later this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists released on Sunday.

The median of responses in the March 13-15 Bloomberg poll predicted one hike by the Fed in September, with the upper end of the target range for the federal funds rate touching 2.75 percent.

Economists said that would likely mark the peak of this hiking cycle, compared with the peak of 3.25 percent they estimated three months ago, the survey showed.

Economists also predicted that Fed officials will lower their own projections for the path of federal funds rates over the three years to come, removing one previously projected, when they gather in Washington on March 19-20 to hold a regular policy meeting.

None of the 32 economists anticipated a rate move next week, as Fed officials have repeatedly signaled they are content to leave rates unchanged this month, according to the survey.

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee earlier this month, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed will be "taking a patient approach" with regard to future policy changes, cautioning about "some crosscurrents and conflicting signals" seen over the past few months.

Policy decisions will continue to be "data dependent" and will take into account new information as economic conditions and the outlook evolve, he said.

After raising interest rates for four times in 2018, the central bank left interest rates unchanged after concluding its policy meeting in January. The current target range for the federal funds rate is at 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent.

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